Thursday, 28 November 2013

Snooping Around

Sometimes you just want to do the thing.

World's Biggest Liar 2013

So I came in third place this year. It was quite a departure and a risk that I took, so I'm glad it worked out, but I can't say I'm not a little disappointed I didn't take 1st. My opponents were clearly worthy however, and third is nothing to be sniffed at. Some recent reportage below.

Leeds Thought Bubble

Thought Bubble was great. In many respects it was much better than NYCC for checking out small and independent projects. I talked to quite a few people and picked up a lot of interesting stuff. I even got to meet Kate Beaton of Hark a Vagrant fame, and she did an awesome Macbeth sketch for me which I may show some time in the future. I'll probably be writing a little more about what I picked up at the con some time in the future.

Looking at a few of the projects on display got me thinking about a few projects of my own. Watch this space.

There are also a few other things that I want to talk about over the coming weeks, so I'll keep you posted on coming developments.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Art Trades Roundup 2013: Things and That Other Thing

So as I went through on the last entry, I've been pretty much demoralized about art trades over the last three years of trying them. I suppose I had this idea in my head that they'd all be fun and timely and make me loads of interesting friends and contacts. Alas, it wasn't to be, my arts been getting better, but it's still a long way to go, so I can understand why a lot of people may want to give me the brush off.

But whatever, I still got some cool art, which I'm going to run through for you now. All artists are credited and I recommend checking out their cool galleries. All characters depicted belong to me unless otherwise stated. If any of the artists object to having their work featured here then contact me immediately. Big thank you to all those involved.

First up is a scenic piece of my characters Danya and Bracken by Sharpiekan. This wasn't part of a trade itself, they just wanted a bit of practice and wanted to take some requests. I was pretty happy with what they ended up with either way.

Next up is Alrianna by Sonten. I really liked what they came up with for this one and managed to stick to the design pretty closely. I'd love to do an art trade with them again.

This drawing of Nero by Intissaria is actually for a trade we did last year. Better late than never, I thought it came out beautifully and managed to capture the characters personality better than I ever could. Nero belongs to my friend Jamie.

Psychoticking's side of the trade of Bastillion. I really like the dynamic angle of this piece, again really capturing the mood and personality of the character. No mean feat when he's masked.

This is another trade for something I'd done last year. To be fair I have to take a bit of responsibility for this one, since I was in a 'not doing anything until I get something in return' phase. Hellyacross finally made good with it though, with this pretty darn solid drawing of Lerissa, my friend Simon's character.

A slightly anime influenced take on Sofia by Monoklo. I think it works really well though, and can imagine a colourful cartoon version of her flying around the galaxy in her Spelljammer.

Another one of Jamie's characters. This time his invoker Cardia. I like how Wildjenmonster took the original idea and just ran with it, without making the character look overdesigned.

Finally a work in progress of Clchriskl's side of the trade of Trust and Megi. Still no sign of a finished version but I have been in touch and hope to hear back soon. I like what's been done so far anyway. Trust and Megi both belong to my friend Jonathan.

And that is that. I really like what I ended up with, but art trades can be a tiresome process with little returns. Like I said, I'm not sure if I have any plans for further trades in the future, most of my art from now on will be working on my weakest areas, that's in between writing projects too. On a happier note I'd like to say a thanks again to all the artists I worked with and hope you all have a bright and prosperous future.

See you fools soon.


Just a quick bit of news before we start this next part. My internet hardware is switching over tomorrow and I'm a little skeptical that it'll all run smoothly, so I just thought I'd update you on a few things in case it doesn't.

I'll be participating in the WorldsBiggest Liar 2013 at The Bridge Inn to defend my title on the 21st November. Tickets are sold out but if you're going to be in attendance I'll see you there. Good luck to all others fellow liars, I hope you're bringing your A-game this year because I know I am.

I'll also be in attendance for LeedsThought Bubble on the 23rd – 24th. It's my first year going there so I'm not sure what to expect. Either way hope to have a grand old time there anyway and hope to meet some cool and interesting people.

I'm still trying to get my first book published, sending off another bunch of submissions this weekend. I've also finished the first draft of my second novel, so we'll see if that goes anywhere also.

All other updates will be going through my deviantart, or one of my three tumblr pages (last one is NSFW, don't click on it Mum).

That is all, regular writings may continue.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Art Trades Roundup 2013: Nothing but a bunch of Yeah Yeah Yeah's.

Several years ago I decided that I would dedicate a chunk of the towards doing art trades. Being hardly the greatest of artists I wanted to get in all the practice I could and step outside my comfort zone, and at the same time see other people's own takes on my designs to better develop them and identify my own flaws.

For the most part this is what I got out of it, and certainly I've had some great experiences. For the third year running however, there has been a portion of the tradees who would never respond back. I would keep up my end of the bargain, always, and try my best. There were some who did get back to me who advised for a variety of reasons why they couldn't finish their end of the trade, and for that I am thankful that they contacted me. There was also people who never got back in touch, and while it's frustrating that this happened, I understand there are some things in life more important than an art trade.

I'd just like a bit of acknowledgment sometimes, you know?

Ultimately I've come to the conclusion that art trades only seem to be worthwhile for artists who have been long time friends online or artist's who are commission worthy enough that they can pick or choose their trades. As a result of this, I think It'll be unlikely I'll be returning to trades in the future.

Anyway, enough moaning. Here's the first half of the roundup, featuring my end of the trades. Characters all belong to their respective requesters unless stated otherwise.

Garnet for Sonten.

Character from Sonten's webcomic. I really like doing characters of different skin tones and Sonten's style was different enough that I felt like I wasn't just covering old ground. I've only had a chance to check out a little bit of their comic but It's interesting to say the least and well worth checking out.

Daniel for PsychoticKing.

A simple everyday person. I wasn't sure what to do with the background and I think I could have probably tried harder with that. Overall though I was pretty pleased.

Blastoise girl for CG-Crayon .

Humanised Pokemon character. I wanted to emphasize the strength of the water Pokemon's final state but I don't think I pulled the muscles off very well. This pretty much led into me doing a lot of muscle practice with I still working on at the moment. CG-Crayon hasn't done his side yet but he did have a pretty big backlog last I checked so who knows. The character is his creation but as you all know the Pokemon elements belong to Nintendo.

Red for Intissaria.

Another simple character for Intissaria who I did some work with last year. Again, no response on their end but they did make good on their last trade after a lengthy hiatus, and I know they've been dealing with some issues of late so I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

Bruce Banner for Wildjenmonster.

I can't say no to the chance to work on a Mark Ruffalo. Natuarally the character belongs to Marvel and Mr Ruffalo's image is his own.

Magician for Monoklo.

Quick nondescript character for Monoklo. This was another one of my attempts at trying something a little more dynamic. Because I suck at perspective I went for a pretty standard profile, which ended up making it a little less dynamic than I had planned. Still satisfied with it overall but it didn't archive what I intended.

Amelia and Cillian for Clchriskl.

Some nice romantic stuff. I was a little worried about doing this because it seems like an eternity since I've drawn something that wasn't f/f or m/m. In the end it turned out exactly as I wanted it and I'm really satisfied with what I did with the background. Clchriskl still has yet to get back to me with their end, they last posted a WIP months ago, but at the very least they've responded to my messages so hopefully something will turn up shortly.

And that's the end of part 1. I really wanted to do more trades this year but it was hard finding people that were interested in doing any. I even got turned down because someone said they didn't think my art was good enough to warrant a trade. Fair enough but wow don't worry about my feelings. Part 2 wrapping up all the artwork I got in return will be coming up shortly.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Andavia - A Campaign in one Session.

It'd been a good long while since we'd played some dnd. Earlier this year we'd attempted to restart but ultimately failed to have a schedule that we could all meet. As a result our weekly dnd sessions fell into a hiatus, one that we'd failed to resume. Finally, by mostly taking the rest of my friends by surprise, I'd managed to get them to agree to a single session campaign.

I'd actually had the whole thing worked out for a while now, it was actually supposed to fall in between The Sand and the Dead it Left in it's Wake and Bleaker'sGambit, but it turned out we didn't need to fill in the time. As a result I re-worked it as a quick introduction for a group of first time players, which also never came about. In the end it served as something quick to get the group together again.

The premise was pretty straightforward; The group were lost in an enchanted forest and come across a Wizard's Tower. Said wizard agrees to help them out of the forest if in return they recover his spell book from a feral elf girl that had stolen it. Knowing what the group was usually like I said that the forest was protected by a magical spell that would prevent them from leaving and only by finding the book would the wizard undo the spell. They would probably just have tortured the wizard into showing them the way out otherwise.

The session played out a little like an old episode of Knightmare. I'd brought along some Rory's Story Cubes for some added random events. If you haven't seen these then you should really check them out, they're great for some ad-hoc campaigns. The group's first stop was the haunted ruins. The ruins themselves were dotted with slabs on the floor, some of which were booby trapped, some of which weren't. Entering a room resulted in me rolling a story cube to decide what was within and, to be honest, worked out extremely well.
For example in one room I rolled a dice and it came up with a shield, thus I decided that they would find a stone shield which may become useful later. Another room I rolled some cogs, telling the group that the room contained the mechanism for a portcullis. Putting two and two together the team could deduce that the shield was part of a locking mechanism for the ruin's exit and sure enough they figured this out when confronted with a statue of a knight.

Another thing I introduced for the use with the Story Cubes was the periodic appearance of ghostly fire. Putting ones hand in the fire would result in the roll of the dice, sometimes they'd get something useful, sometimes not so much. It was a pretty good way of preventing myself and the team from writing ourselves into a corner.

After an encounter with the elf girl and failing to hit her with a throwing knife the group come across an orc village. Earlier I'd told the team that they had infinite coin as they wouldn't be encountering anyone to buy things off. Thinking themselves clever, they used this to bribe their way into the orc village. Fair enough, shortly after they encountered the tribe's well spoken chief, who told them that they'd need to do something for his people in return for info on where the wild elf lives. Again they attempted to bribe with infinite coin, only to be told that the coin was now worthless as the economy had just been flooded with the stuff. Rule one: never try to outsmart the DM.

So instead the group had to find another way to appease the orcs. Option one was to find out why a nearby tribe had turned hostile. Option two was to fix a mechanical well that had dried up. Option three was to steal an artifact from another rival tribe. With Nazrin being an artificer, it made sense that they'd pick option two.
It turned out that the well wasn't actually a well, it was an ancient complex of stone outhouses. Cue the group joking about how the orcs had been drinking out of toilets and me repeating “It's fine! It's clean! They haven't been used in thousands of years! You can practically drink out of them!”. The area was scattered with clues and options to fix the mechanism, but most of the group missed these. Fortunately there was another brazier of 'ghostly fire' nearby, which they used to randomly obtain some 'strange gel', which they could then use to fix the mechanism and get the toilets working again.

They return to the village only to find the chief being threatened by a mysterious Inquisitor, also on the trail of the girl. The orc agreed to reveal her location, and the humans left. Choosing to stick around, the chief told the team that he gave the humans the long way round, and then tells the team how to get to her quicker.
The group make their way to a river, and notice the feral elf girl again. Kenzi fails to hit her with another dagger and she runs away. This was a little important since they were supposed to have tried to hurt or capture her by now, with a successful hit being met with a random spell being cast to counter it, showing that she was impervious to damage. Without witnessing this, things would make a little less sense later on, which you will see.

The group lasso a rope across the river and climb over. Using my story cubes once again, I determine that a sea monster lurches from the depths, prompting a quick combat encounter. Finally across, and making their way upstream, I roll the cubes again and they find themselves face to face with a traveling minstrel who they promptly murder rather than deal with his riddles.

Finally at the summit, they find the elf girl's cave and climb their way up to confront her. The group doesn't use their time particularly well here, with only Damon managing to gain a little of her trust. Running out of time, the Inquisitor and his cronies arrive and take her hostage. He explains that she is a new kind of wild mage who can cast spells just by touching the wording, making her very dangerous to be in possession of the wizard's book.

The Inquisitor explains the damage equals random spell conundrum, and states he has a special gun that will kill her outright. The group has no problem with this no matter how hard I try to pull their heart strings. The girl, mute though she is, tries to convey that the Inquisitor does not know the full picture.
They still decide to let him pull the trigger, leading to catastrophic results. The girl creates a black hole that consumes everyone, with only Damon passing a strength check to hold onto something. At this point, had Damon not managed to hold on, or gain a little of the girls trust, then it would have been game over. Yes I am that uncompromising. Fortunately Damon manages to plead with the girl, who casts a white hole that farts Nazrin and Kenzi back into existence.

Finally realising the extent of her powers, they manage to negotiate the spell book out of her hands. They return to the wizard who gives them a reward and undoes the spell to get them out of the forest. Thanks for playing.

What Worked:

This was one of the tightest run sessions I'd ever done. None of the solutions seemed restrictive or railroaded, nor too obvious or too obscure. Both I as the DM and the players made the most of the humour derived from flooding the orc's economy and the toilet complex. the Story Cubes were a fucking godsend and added an extra dynamic to the game that made it feel that little bit more fresh and that little more unpredictable. As with my previous campaign, I made use of the Lords of Magic soundtrack, which seems to have a piece of music for every environment.

What Didn't:

I'd say the only weak part of the session was the climax. I hadn't done enough earlier on to clue the group into the elf girl's power set or give them a reason to want to dislike the Inquisitor. Once again I'd created a scenario where I wanted the team to empathize and they failed to do so. Lesson learned I guess, don't get too attached to characters if you're going to give the players the opportunity to murder them.

Final Thoughts:

A quick fun session that proves that you can keep a dnd campaign at only one session long and still include everything you want to. Certainly likely that we'll be using this format again for future games.

Friday, 20 September 2013

I'm Sorry

To all the people that I ridiculed and made out I was the smart and better one. To all the people that I made out that didn’t matter. To the people I was overenthusiastic about. To the people I was kind of creepy to. And most of all to the people when I was just plain wrong.

I’m sorry.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Get Mad: Why Its okay to be Angry

We've all been there. Something pisses us off, we complain about it and then someone else says we shouldn't complain and instead should give thanks for being so fortunate. Don't like the food? Be happy you've got food, some parts of the world they'd kill for what you've got. Dad messing up your plans by insisting you give him a lift into town? He's been chauffeuring you around all your life, show some fucking gratitude.

It gets brought up a lot. First world problems some people call it, to suggest that you shouldn't complain about trivial little things when there are people fighting for survival. They wouldn't even be able to conceive why you'd think something like that was an issue. You've got a roof over your head, money in the bank, and food in the cupboard, why the hell are you getting so worked up about the possibility that the new Star Wars films are going to disregard the expanded universe painted by its spin offs?

My name is Jack Harvey, I'm angry that the new Star Wars films are going to disregard its expanded universe. I get angry about a lot of trivial little things, and I'm going to tell you why thats okay.

A little background for this first example, but I'll get through this as quick as I can. George Lucas originally planned the Star Wars series to be nine films. The initial trilogy, the prequels and a follow up. After the original trilogy his creative process kind of got bogged down by turning the whole thing into a media empire, hence it wasn't till many decades later that we got to see the prequels. After years of tinkering, critical displacement and fan backlash Lucas was pretty much done with the Hollywood machine, handing the whole thing over to Disney and moving on to smaller projects/and or retiring, and who could blame him?

Star Wars was always bigger than the films though, and during all this many great, and not so great, writers fleshed out Lucas' world in ways the films couldn't even attempt to cover. As a result, the further adventures of Luke and co has been told in depth by the books, comics and games. There are plenty of sources online where you can find a detailed break down of events, but I'll run through how the story unfolds real quick. Sorry for the info dump and do bear in mind light spoilers are in effect.

After the fall of the empire Luke Skywalker essentially sets about bringing back the Jedi order, while Leia, Han, Chewie and a cavalcade of side characters go about bringing the rest of the galaxy together. This does not run smoothly, at all. Luke ends up flirting whith the dark side thanks to the Emperor having a bunch of back up clone bodies. After that they have to deal with the remnants of the empire still causing trouble, namely this blue skinned badass called Admiral Thrawn. Along the way Luke meets this choice babe (literally the best way of describing the character) called Mara Jade who he falls in love with.

So numerous adventures and escapades continue over the years. Leia and Han have kids, Luke and Mara have kids, the republic is on the up and up, the Jedi comes back. Everyone lives happily ever after right?
No. This is when the shit hits the fan and everything goes batshit crazy.

The whole universe essentially gets invaded by a bunch of sado-masochistic fascist aliens. Oh, and they're not affected by the force either so forget about all that. They basically turn up like the Romans in Gaul, forcing the republic and the empire and finally put aside their differences and set up a galactic alliance. Characters die, planets explode, kids turn over to the dark side and you can never go back.

Then a century later we follow the adventures of Luke's junkie descendant being used as a pawn in a Game of Thrones style civil war.

Thats pretty much the gist of it, and theres other great stuff like Jedi space truckers, rogue imperial guards and Boba Fett being Boba Fett.

So naturally, when they announce the new films I think “Oh man, I hope they don't plan on contradicting all the comics and games and books with the new films!”. Yet, lo and behold, Abrams and co come along and say they're not to concerned about trying to stick to the boundaries of the spin offs. When I hear this, I get mad. Real mad. Boycott Mad.

Now fair play to the new films, there is a logic in this. If you have the time I suggest you take a look at Bob “Moviebob” Chipman's justification. He's a pretty clever guy, if you're not following him, you should be. The video is about five minutes long, its okay, I'll wait.

Done? Good. Now Bob sums it up pretty well there. Trying to accommodate the expanded universe would be logistical suicide, and it would also stifle the new team's freedom, maybe even preventing them from creating something truly great. It makes no sense in getting mad over it right?


I got mad, I'm still mad to a degree. I understand why they're doing it but I still won't be happy. Why? Because I'm human. Because It's my basic human right to want something. Because I don't want to go and see a Star Wars film which goes; “Remember Mara Jade? Tough, she doesn't exist any more, now watch Luke fall in love with some other woman. Remember how Boba Fett came back from the dead? Tough, he's dead again. Remember the Vong invasion?” etc etc.

It's selfish sure, but hey, why can't we be a little selfish now and again? This Star Wars film isn't for me, it isn't for die hards who have obsessed over the spin offs for years on end. The new Star Wars is for new viewers and fans who never went much further than the films. When it's put that way, why wouldn't it be justified to be just a little bit pissed off?

See this is just one example, there are many other little things that piss me off in the worlds of film, TV, games and comics. I get mad when games drop certain characters to cameo levels in sequels. I get mad when a film of a comic changes something for one reason or another. I get mad when a certain part of the fanbase gets favored over me. I get mad when comics reboot back to the start and throw out the things I liked. I get mad and that's okay.

Why was Kelly Chambers relegated to such a tiny role in Mass Effect 3? I get why Pepper and Tony get together in the films, it makes sense in the context of the story, but damn it I always loved Pepper and Happy as a couple. I'm an old skool (sic) Doctor Who fan and I never liked Rose Tyler, so it makes me fucking rage whenever she's treated as THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPANION. Also I don't like it when the Doctor kisses people. Never ever ever talk to me about the Power Girl comics coming to an end and then being restarted without bringing back Terra. I cry myself to sleep about that sometimes.

Every one of those examples has a good reason why it was done, but that still doesn't make things easier. I'm still angry. I'm still angry about a lot of those things. I'm sure you can think of a lot of examples for yourself, and upon bringing it up with a friend get told; “Well they had to do it that way,” or “It makes sense that they did that though,” or “They're a business, they exist to make money,”. You can concede defeat, shrug your shoulders and accept that argument and try to repress the rage.

I'm here today to tell you that you don't have to.

No matter how trivial, no matter how pointless, no matter what arguments there are to the contrary, It is your human right to feel this way. If someone tries to talk you down, argue your point. Get online and let the world know what you think. Stand on the rooftops and shout it to the heavens. You are angry about something, you have a right to let that be known. You deserve to feel that way.

Now, before you say that this attitude is going to cause a toxic atmosphere lets put it into a bit of perspective. Just because you have the right to get mad, doesn't mean you have the right to take it out on others, nor should it give you a sense of entitlement that everything should be your way all the time. Its your opinion, there is no right or wrong answer. Remember the first law of the internet:

I don't like Rose Tyler, but in no way does this reflect my opinion of Billie Piper, who I'm sure is a wonderful person and has done some great stuff over the years. Put me up against a Rose Tyler fan and I'll explain why I feel this way but I won't think that I'm a better person than they are, or think that it gives me an excuse to call them a moron or an idiot.

Remember, you have a right to get mad. You don't have the right to be a dick about it.

Getting angry should provoke debate, it should seek to create discussion. Getting mad should ultimately lead to refining the art form into something enjoyed by everybody. It's an important part of the evolutionarily process of popular culture. Raging can lead to pointing out flaws that others may not have previously noticed. Anger shouldn't stifle creativity, it should encourage it.

And sometimes it can change things. Another example; 2012 saw the release of Mass Effect 3, the final installment of a computer/video game series which garnered a dedicated fan base due to its detailed focus on the relationships between the main character and the game's cast, through romance, friendships and rivalries. The series is pretty damn solid, the storyline is hardly the most original but the characters and setting really drew you in. It created a hell of a lot of emotional investment with its players, who would later go on to be some of the most dedicated fans you'd ever see.

And the ending did not go down well. At. All.

ME3's ending has a lot of problems and different people tend to have different opinions on why. Minor spoilers in effect, many felt that it was too grim in comparison with the optimism shown in the rest of the series. Some felt it was too brief for a game that, up until this point, spent so much time making you face the consequences of your actions. Some just wanted blue alien space babies.

For my money, the endings real fault is that it doesn't match the tone and themes that were the focus of the games. It's as if you went to watch Star Trek with the last five minutes of Blade Runner. Up until that point you were watching a campy sci-fi actioner and all of a sudden you're being asked to meditate on what it really means to be human, what it really means to have a soul. It comes out of nowhere, It really does feel like somebody got the script mixed up with something else.

So many, myself included, got mad. We discussed why we got mad and word spread so fast and so loud that the writers had to go back and release a DLC to 'fix' the ending. I'm still not sure if caving was the right thing to do, or if the writers should have stuck to their guns. Plus the DLC didn't really change that much, just elevated it from 'bad' to 'acceptable', but it goes to show that when people get mad other people listen. Were they acting like a bunch of entitled little shits? Maybe, but when you've got a billion people acting like entitled little shits it gets you to thinking that maybe they have a point.

Getting mad can do good in many ways. You may think it pointless being pissed off about one little thing in a video game that only you seem to care about, but hey, that guy in the pub you were talking to about it may one day go on to be a video game developer, and he may remember what you said and think; “Is this action justified or is it just going to piss people off?”. You could be sitting there moaning about this or that change to a character in a comic book film and this might be overheard by someone who one day goes to work on a comic book adaption and say; “We need to keep this character the way they are in the comic, it's just going to piss fans off if you change it.”

And it can run deeper than that. I'm pissed off that every book, film and game I pick up these days seems to star white heterosexual male. Gimmie a change guys. As someone who wants to get into writing, I make it a conscious choice to create a protagonist who doesn't fit this mold. Why would I want to write about a white heterosexual male? There are plenty of good stories out there about those characters already.

And people will say to you; “If only you could get as passionate about important things instead of your stupid hobby,” well screw them because who's to say you won't? You've had the practice, one day you might really want to make a difference about something important. It could be about the poor treatment of migrant workers, or womens rights, or poverty or the cure for cancer. Remember that time you got so angry that you got a video game company to admit they were wrong and change the ending of a game? You've had the practice, one day, those skills might really come in handy.

Get angry. It may seem selfish, it may seem childish, but it's your right, and one day you might do something good with it.

In closing, here is an abridged list of trivial (and some less trivial) things that I'm angry about:

The new Star Wars films are going to disregard the expanded universe.
Kelly Chambers having such a tiny role in Mass Effect 3 and not getting a proper romance
Jack not being an f/f romance in Mass Effect 2.
Morrigan not being an f/f romance in Dragon Age.
DC finishing the Power Girl series and then restarting it without Terra as a character.
The Doctor having lots of romantic interests in Doctor Who.
Pretty much anything Games Workshop does.
Allicorn Twilight.
People who insist a humanized Twilight can't have a dark complexion.
Default male Shepard being the focus of all the marketing for the Mass Effect series.
Male Shepard being the intended protagonist of a proposed Mass Effect film.
People who read manga but refuse to even touch a comic book.
When western properties make an official anime spin off film when the style is unsuitable.
That there are never major gay characters (barring a few exceptions) in anything Star Wars related.
Superman and Wonder Woman being in a relationship when they have never had any chemistry.
Changing the ending of the Surrogates film.
Rose Tyler.
That Native American Indians never get to star in anything outside westerns.
Jonny Depp is playing Tonto.
That the Drive-By Truckers aren't bigger.
That Laurie J Marks' Elemental Logic series is so obscure.
Fans of Doctor Who who have no intention of watching any of the original series.
That Paul McGann never got a Doctor Who series.
Unreal Tournament 3 losing everything that made the series great to work on better graphics in a game where nobody cares about graphics.
The lack of Planescape: Torment fan art.
Brian Blessed not being cast as Odin in Thor.
No development on Half Life 3.
The new Command and Conquer not having a single player mode.
That nobody makes traditionally animated films anymore.
That they changed Deadpool's character completely in X:Men Origins: Wolverine.
That nobody makes expansion packs any more.
That Dark Messiah never got a sequel.
The affinity system in Dragons Dogma.
Despite the success of The Avengers people still keep fucking up superhero adaptions.
It taking a year for each Game of Thrones season coming out on DVD.
Adventure Time and Regular Show not being out on DVD in the UK.
The IDW Dungeons and Dragons comic being canceled.
4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons rules.
Tieflings in 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

And that lucky old sun just rolls around heaven all day

So It turns out that comicsalliance is back, so disregard everything from the last post.

Updates are still slow. Book is now off to an agency, so its just a matter of time but I don't expect it to get picked up on the first try anyway. We'll see in due course. In the meantime, I'm working on another couple of side projects. I'm also thinking of starting to write a few articles about comic and video games based subjects but considering the amount of traffic this blog gets I don't know if I'd attract any readers.

In the mean time you can catch all my usual updates at my deviantart or my tumber.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

RIP Comics Alliance

This week, Comics Alliance, probably one of the best comics news sites on the internet, was closed down. You probably know most of the circumstances and If you need any more info you can probably get the lowdown from a more informed person than I. I'm not writing this to go over the whys of what's just happened, but talk about what the site meant to me and why it's closure is such a great loss.

If it wasn't for Comics Alliance, I don't think I'd be the connoisseur of comic books that I am today. I wouldn't say I'm an academic in the field by any stretch, but the site's informed and entertaining manner in which it discussed the mediums history and legacy has gifted me knowledge that I might never have got from any other place. When I talk to non-fans and fans alike about how there is more to comics than people's initial expectations, chances are I'll be citing examples I first learned about from one of Comics Alliance's great writers.

And it wasn't just the knowledge that made the site great, but the sheer scope of which they covered. I've found out about so many great little series and interesting comics that I wouldn't have otherwise known about down to the site's recommendations, but that's not all. It may sound corny to say it, but there was always something about the writing staff that was right and just. They didn't just report and cover issues that continually dog popular culture in general (Racial issues, representations of sexuality, unfortunate implications of common aesthetics) but knew that condemnation wasn't always the right way to address a problem, discussion was.

Simple words cannot describe the feats of a site who's only obligation was to keep us up to date on things like the Thor movie. They went far and beyond what they were expected and for that I think we can all be thankful.

Especially me. Thank you staff of Comics Alliance, thanks for everything.

Disengage sincerity mode.

While it's still up you can find the site here

Sunday, 17 March 2013

What Trouble Have Our Intrepid Adventurers Found Themselves In This Time?

Been a real lack of updates here of late. I'm not dead, but I have been temporarily incapacitated thanks to Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition.

So yeah.

Art Trades are back on again. Full info over at my Deviantart page as usual. Now with a handy list of characters and references.

I'm now on Tumblr, though I don't really know what for. I recently partook in Femslash February, which you can see collected here. I think I'll just be dumping a few sketches here and there in the future.

I'm still working on that novel I keep mentioning. It's all pretty much good for submissions to publishers besides a few tweaks, but I want to get some solid feedback off a few folks to make sure it's not just utter tripe.

So that about brings things up to date. Wow. I thought I had more to mention than that.